I definitely enjoyed my trip to San Antonio since I was able to photograph four different models. All of them were different from each other, but they all had a quality that captured my attention and sparked a desire to work with them. During the second session, I worked with Bryant. It was interesting session with Bryant given that he was quiet throughout the shoot. I am usually able to find a common interest to engage the model in a conversation and make a connection. I was never able to find that common point of interest and fully engage Bryant throughout the shoot; however, Bryant was professional throughout the shoot.
Of course, since I did not have a personal connection with Bryant, I approached the shoot as an experiment. The hotel that I was staying at had a these awesome plantation style shutters on the four windows in the bedroom. I could use the shutters to direct, to a certain extent, the light where I wanted it to go as well as how much natural light flooded the bedroom. The great thing about Bryant's shoot was that it was held in the afternoon and had plenty of light to work with for some natural light portraits.
The image below capitalized on the natural light streaming in through one of the windows. I rarely use natural light in my images since I like to work in the studio since I live in Texas and hate being outdoors in the heat. However, I absolutely love photographing models in front of windows and using natural light when I can. However, each time that I attempt to do natural light portraits, it seems like I have to reteach myself on the settings and how to work the light in my favor - not as easy as studio lights when I can just move the light sources. However, I love the feel of natural light portraits and how flattering they can be.
In regards to the image below, I absolutely love the way that light is hitting Bryant's face. It definitely is creating some interesting shadows as the light falls away and the shadows creep in. Of course, I'm definitely drawn to the catch lights in his eyes; they are part of the reason why I stop at this image each time that I look through the catalog of Bryant's images. Finally, I love how the plantation shutters create an interesting backdrop for Bryant to stand against. I will have to admit that seeing these shutters have made me want to have them in my future home. Nonetheless, I absolutely love the way that the image turned out given how rarely I tend to use natural light in my images.
I have found myself being drawn to quite a few portrait-style images in these blog entries. Of course, it's because I'm drawn to a model's eyes and seeing the world reflected back at me. That's definitely the reason why I love the image below. I'm captivated by the fact that I can see detail of the two windows reflected in Bryant's eyes.
In addition to Bryant's eyes, I like the subtle turn and tilt of his head. I believe that I have mentioned that I love the connection between the viewer and the model when their eyes meet the camera, but there's definitely a more interesting connection when the model is looking away from the camera. It evokes some curiosity in determining what has captured the model's attention. And if we're lucky, then we can see it through a reflection in the model's eye. For me, those images are some of the more interesting ones that I have come across. That's one of the reason why I absolutely love the image below.
Of course, it definitely helped if the model brought something to the table as well. When I went down to San Antonio, I went with the intention of photographing Bryant as a boxer. Yeah, I had purchased a boxer costume for Halloween one year and wanted to get some additional mileage out of it. So, when I saw Bryant's image, I knew that I wanted to photograph him as a boxer. What I didn't know at the time was that Bryant was an amateur boxer and knew quite a few techniques that he was willing to go through during the shoot. So that was definitely one of the highlights from the photo shoot.
I love the two images below because of the intensity of Bryant's stance and boxing pose. The poses are definitely cool in the sense that I haven't captured anything like them before. I believe that I've mentioned that in previous blog entries - I'm always interested in working with models that can bring something different to my portfolio, especially if it's unique posing. It's definitely one of the reasons why I become more ecstatic as I worked with Bryant during the boxing series. Plus, there's a sense of authenticity in the poses since he knew what he was doing as he throwing jabs and hooks as he did his shadow boxing. It was definitely cool to say the least.
These images also helped when I needed to decide on a subject for my composite project for one of the photography courses. The first concept was relatively easy to decide on since I went into the class with the idea firmly planted in my head. However, the second concept had escaped me until I couldn't wait any longer. However, I knew that I wanted to work with these images and create a shadow boxing image. You can see the three source images and composite at http://reyjphotography.com/rightcross.
On the surface, it looks like I took the easy way out and only did a merging of the three images and played with the opacity. That's probably one of the reasons why the image didn't make it into the print show that semester - or at least, I'm choosing to believe that was the reason why it didn't make it into the print show. But when I was presenting the image to my class for critiquing, I think my prof and classmates where taken aback to see what I had actually done by choosing different parts of the images and blending them together to create something new. Of course, I used some transformation to move body parts into new positions or turn them a little more to fit the overall look. There was some blending of different body parts. And of course, there was the different opacity levels as I worked to bring parts of some of the images forward while regulating others to the background. Plus, I loved that I was able to use Bryant's cross tattoo and place it on his right hand and call the image "Right Cross". Yeah, I'm cheesy like that.
I was a little bummed that it didn't get into the print show, but the images are judge based on their 5 second presentation. If it doesn't capture the panel's attention within those 5 seconds, then it doesn't make it into the print show. That's why I had a love-hate relationship with the print show. However, I am proud of this image because of the technical work that went into it and the fact that I was able to take my prof and classmates aback when I started explaining my process for creating the composite from my source images. That was definitely awesome to say the least.
However, I did have one image make it into the print show that semester. I will admit that I'm not that big of a fan of composite images. I went into the class knowing that I was taking it because it was a core requirement for the degree plan and not because I wanted to learn to make composite images. Okay, I also wanted to learn how to use PhotoShop so that I can make black and white images with color splashes a little easier. What can I say - I like that look.
However, I am a fan of comic books, specifically the X-men, as well as sci-fi/fantasy movies. So when I heard that I needed to make two composite images, I automatically knew what my first composite image was going to be. Plus, I had several source images that I knew would be perfect for the idea floating around in my head. In addition to some burnt tree bark from Bastrop State Park and a stormy sky taken from Mt. Bonnell, I used the image below as the base image from my first composite. The source images can be seen at http://reyjphotography.com/gameface.
When I finished the shoot with Bryant, this was one of the first images that I worked on. During photo shoots, there are times when I know that an image will be absolutely special and become of my favorites from the shoot. It's definitely instinctual when I'm capturing the image and then seeing it on the view screen. I had that feeling when I first captured the image below.
As you guys know, I like some drama in my images and usually capture it through lighting. And yes, I think the lighting in this image definitely adds to the overall dramatic effect of this image, but the majority of it is coming from Bryant himself. For me, I love the intensity of his eyes as he's staring down the camera. There's definitely a primal feel to the image, but maybe that's just me reading into the image. However, I absolutely love the overall image and how the different components (lighting, model, pose, expression) all came together to create an interesting image. As such, this gave me a great base image for my first composite image.
I am actually proud on how this composite came out. Overall, it didn't take me that long to create the overall effect of the image - a couple of class periods. However, I spent quite a bit of time refining the image and moving the textured bark across his face to create the overall look I wanted. Yeah, I spent quite a bit of time moving the bark around to getting an interesting pattern as well as maintaining his features (lips, nose, cheekbones, and eyebrow ridges). Actually, I'm damn proud on how I was able to use the texture of the bark to create some interesting patterns across his face; it just took some transformation modifications, different leveling for each side of his face, and then making minute adjustments here and there.
I have to admit that this is one of my favorite images from my catalog. Yeah, I know that composites are generally not one of my favorite types of images, but the fact that I was able to make an image that had a supernatural or mutant feel to it was pretty cool. Of course, I was happy that the image made it into the print show that semester. Plus, my prof thought that the image was interesting and cool. It's funny because as I was getting frustrated with the image, my prof came over and gave me encouragement on the image. Then he told me that he could see me just using PhotoShop to create interesting artwork like this instead of the typical, boring composites. So that was cool.
My favorite image from the photo shoot turned out to be one that focused on Bryant's face. It's not that surprising given how my last few blog entries have been as well as the images that I have been highlighting. Anyway, I did a series of Bryant in the shower because I wanted to create something similar to the images of Porter. Plus, I like the repeating tiles in the shower of the hotel that I was staying at. I was happy that I was able to get an awesome shot from the series and that it became my favorite from the shoot.
I do like his facial expression in the image and the fact that he is not looking directly at the camera. I also like how the lighting pattern plays out across his face. The shadows falling just on the right side of his nose but stopping before reaching his eye is definitely cool. On top of that, I like how the water drops pick up the light and creates some interesting highlights around his face. It's always interesting to work with models and water.
Again, I love being able to capture details in my images. While I love the lighting and pose, I absolutely love the fact that I was able to capture the water drops on his face as well as the the ones in his goatee. I go love how the light plays across the texture of his skin along his forehead as well as his lips. I'm always interesting in seeing those details in images instead of seeing skin completely smoothed out.
Overall, I love how the images from the photo shoot with Bryant turned out. The shoot itself was a little different from the ones that I've done before in the sense that there wasn't a lot of conversation flowing between myself and Bryant. However, that allowed me to take a different stance with the photo shoot and just experiment with different things. For one, it allowed me to play with natural light and not worry about trying to get the most of the shoot. I'm definitely happy with the way those natural light images came out. And, the shoot also allowed me to be critical on some of the shots that I was capturing, which in turned became the basis for my composite images in the fall semester. So yeah, I definitely think the photo shoot turned out great even if I didn't feel a personal connection with the model this time.